My Adult Acne Is Embarrassing: Can You Help?

Feb 01, 2024
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Contrary to popular belief, acne isn’t just a “teenage problem.” An increasing number of adults find themselves dealing with acne in their thirties, forties, and even fifties. If you’re one of them, we can help. Learn more here.

Most people think of acne as a “teenage problem.” Why? The reproductive hormonal changes that occur during the various stages of puberty make this chronic skin disease exceptionally common among adolescents; in fact, about 95% of kids deal with acne, either intermittently or consistently, during their tween and teen years. 

Acne might be most prevalent among adolescents, but it’s not just a teenage concern. Many adults cope with acne breakouts, too. Current research — and experience with our patients here at Florida Dermatology Associatesindicate that the frequency of adults with acne is increasing

If you’re embarrassed by adult acne, our expert team of board-certified dermatologists want you to know that virtually everyone with this persistent disorder can attain clearer skin — and we can help. Here’s what an effective treatment approach to adult acne typically entails. 

1. Skin and blemish evaluation 

“Adult acne” refers to chronic acne that continues — or reemerges following a clearance period — after age 25. While any adult can develop acne, women are far more likely than men to have routine breakouts in their thirties, forties, and beyond. 

When dealing with acne breakouts in adulthood, the first step toward getting clearer skin is having a comprehensive skin and blemish evaluation. We want to know: 

  • Your age and overall acne history
  • When your adult breakouts started
  • Where acne appears on your skin
  • Which acne treatments you’ve tried 

Most importantly, we need to understand the nature of your acne or type of blemishes (i.e., pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, cysts) and whether it’s left you with any dark spots or scars. 

2. Ruling out other conditions

When evaluating your skin and blemishes, we consider the possibility that you might have another skin condition that causes acne-like breakouts. The longer that acne persists as you age, the greater the chance it’s something else.  

Rosacea, known as acne rosacea, is a common skin disorder that typically emerges in middle age and affects women more often than men. It causes acne-like breakouts, usually in response to specific triggers (i.e., cold wind, heat, sweat, stress, alcohol, spicy foods).

Other skin conditions associated with acne-like blemishes include perioral dermatitis, keratosis pilaris, and hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). 

3. Identifying your acne variables

Once we’ve diagnosed your acne, we look closer at health and lifestyle factors contributing to the problem. Factors that may contribute to persistent adult acne include:

  • Genetic predisposition to acne (close family history)
  • Low-grade systemic inflammation triggered by stress
  • Female hormonal changes (i.e., pregnancy, perimenopause)
  • Endocrine disorders (i.e., polycystic ovary syndrome)   
  • Excess immune system stimulation (autoimmune disorders)
  • Pro-inflammatory eating patterns (i.e., sugar, saturated fat)
  • Daily use of pore-clogging hair, skin, or makeup products 

Often more inflammatory than adolescent acne, adult acne is usually a result of multiple internal and external factors. Understanding the different variables involved in your case can help us determine the best skin-clearing approach for you.    

4. Refining your skin care routine

We can develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs once our team knows your acne history, rules out other acne-like conditions, identifies the types of acne you have, and understands your personal contributing variables. 

The first half of effective acne control is an acne-friendly skin care routine. We provide detailed skin care recommendations — including products, application techniques, and frequency of use — to foster optimal skin clearing. We also suggest skin-supporting dietary changes and lifestyle modifications to help minimize breakouts. 

5. Your tailored acne treatment

The second half of the acne control equation is treatment. Depending on the nature and severity of your breakouts, we may recommend: 

  • Topical or oral acne medications
  • Acne medicines combined with antibiotics
  • Clinical treatments (facials, chemical peels)   
  • Noninvasive laser/light therapy treatments 

Women with persistent breakouts or severe, stubborn acne may benefit from therapy hormonal birth control medications (i.e., the pill) that are also FDA-approved to treat acne.  

6. Successful long-term control

It can take time for acne to clear, even with a perfectly tailored treatment plan. It’s critical to stick with your treatment plan as prescribed and prioritize everyday care, even when results are slow to appear.

 With treatment adherence and gentle, consistent skin care, you can clear your complexion, improve skin texture and health, minimize breakouts, avoid irreversible damage, and attain successful long-term acne control. 

Are you ready to clear adult acne for good? Call your nearest Florida Dermatology Associates office in Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Cocoa, Melbourne, Titusville, or Rockledge, Florida, today, or click online to book an appointment anytime.